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Retailers Now Banking On Returns To Help 2012 Sales

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Bad weather nationally is one of the reasons given for a kind of lackluster Christmas shopping season, and now retailers hope for a last-minute holiday spending spree to meet sales expectations.

A Master Card Advisors SpendingPulse report says spending between Christmas 2011 and 2012 rose only 0.7%, down 3-4% from what analysts originally predicted.  Now post-Christmas spending is expected to account for 15% of total sales, the report says.  And retailers are keying into customers reasons to shop between the holidays.

At a North Dallas Best Buy store 7-year-old Jake Howie explained, "Santa got us a cover that did not fit our iPad mini."  So Jake and his whole family turned out; returns and replacements are just one reason shoppers turn out in droves after Christmas.

Sicnique Alexander said the deals are better after Christmas. "Less hassle and better sales," she said.  Ashley Smith echoed her thoughts. "There's less stress, less crowds."

Eric Krauel was playing the odds.  "They've got almost better sales after Christmas, I think, than before Christmas. I think so.  I come and scoop them up."

Smart retailers have insight on how shoppers think and capitalize on it after Christmas.

Nic Hohne is the store leader, or manager, at the new JC Penney Timber Creek store at Skillman Street and Northwest Highway in Dallas.  "There are a lot of people who come in that are really looking to shop," he said, adding that many retailers have post-Christmas clearances to sell the last of the fall-winter items and get ready for the spring selections.  Plus there are gift cards and in-store programs to cash in.  And there's the time off factor. "A lot of people are still on vacation," he said, "the kids are out of school so people have a little more free time."

Then, there's the value of returning something.  Tiffany Banger was at the Penney's for a reason.  "Exchanging Christmas gifts and buying another gift for a birthday," she said, adding, "If we didn't have to exchange, I wouldn't be here."

Other retailers have additional approaches.  Best Buy is offering an extended price-matching program through January 31 because some shoppers like Robert Smith smell bargains and they really do compare prices.  "I know it's been soft for retailers so trying to capitalize on deals on TVs...I'm going to buy something today because today is the day to do it, the day after Christmas."

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